As hotels and the hospitality industry continue to try to provide experiences and engagement for an ever-changing consumer within the difficult realms of rising costs, supply chain issues and staff considerations, it is easy to understand that localism, community and sustainability could move down the list of immediate priorities. For Heythrop Park, part of the adult-only hotel group Warner Hotels this has not been the case.
Since joining Warner Hotel’s portfolio, the Grade II*-listed baroque manor’s 300 year old historic features have been lovingly restored, to comprise an impressive fusion of 18th century splendour and modern luxury. The complete transformation over the last four years and after its £40m investment, boasts 337 bedrooms, three restaurants and two entertainment venues, chic lounges, vibrant bars, outdoor terraces, a ballroom theatre and brand-new spa.
Engaging with the local community is of utmost importance to Warner and the Heythrop Park staff, as such an iconic building has been part of the local community for around 300 years. The country escape was therefore officially opened by Enstone Councillors Nikki Knott and Richard Parker, who cut the ribbon and officially opened the venue towards the end of 2022.
Nikki Knott, chair of Enstone Parish Council, said: “Heythrop Park has been such an integral part of our community in Enstone for many years, and local residents have fond memories of the estate in its many forms – I remember cycling around the grounds in my childhood! “We’re delighted to see Heythrop Park restored to its original beauty, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate our history for generations to come.
Richard Parker, fellow member of Enstone Parish Council, also said: “I actually used to be a pastry chef at Heythrop Park during the 70’s, so it really is fantastic to be here once again and experience all its grandeur. It’s such a lovely setting with stunning grounds to explore, and being only an hour away from London makes it perfect for commuters.
Dean Saunders, general manager at Heythrop Park said: “It was truly special to welcome our neighbours to join us in celebrating Heythrop Park’s grand reopening. We are proud to be part of the Enstone community and we continue to meet with and include local residents in the development of the park.” Dean went further to say that “Sustainability and our staff are our highest priority and as such, the refurbishment and plans for the future have intentionally included PV solar panels have been installed in Spring 2022 to benefit from the daylight season. We will have 52 EV charging bays split between the two car parks, these are new EV chargers and will provide flexible smart charging facilities for our guests and team. There are other significant energy saving initiatives installed throughout the project such as Air Source Heat Pumps, water saving technology in the kitchens using sensor taps, Granular disk pot washing equipment which uses virtually no water at all.”
When asked about opportunities for talent development and staff retention, Dean commented that “Through regular open days, we invite the local community to meet with us, host them with refreshments whilst they explore the hotel, and interview individuals who are interested in working for us. We are a place where talent thrives and have a comprehensive programme called ‘Grow to’ which helps people develop their career from team leader up to general manager, Dean Saunders, himself being an example of this supported career progression, having started his career as a lifeguard and working his way up to general manager. With a dedication to apprenticeship qualifications and continued learning for all staff, senior staff are further developed through a programme called ‘Way of Leading’ which support and imparts the principles of being an inspiring leader, supporting staff and effectively managing change.
The Heythrop Park hotel may have Grade II listed 300 year old baroque “bones” but at its heart, it has a supportive local community and a sustainable future in its sight.